Chieftaincy tussle: ‘Constitution saved our community from mayhem’
By Emma Elekwa, Onitsha
People of Umuoji community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State have attributed existing peace in the town to strict adherence to constitution during the just concluded election of its traditional ruler.
The indigenes said their decision to follow letters of constitution in the course of the election averted looming anarchy which they alleged were instigated by a certain group of persons in the town for their selfish interests.
The community, comprising four quarters, had reportedly been enmeshed in a leadership crisis following the death of its former traditional ruler with two factions claiming victory in the poll and subsequent ownership of the stool.
One of the factions had earlier stormed the government house in Awka, the state capital, insisting one of the contestants to the throne won the election and must be installed as the traditional ruler.
But speaking to newsmen during a solidarity march to the government house, Spokesperson of the town, Gilbert Okoye described as unnecessary the crisis being instigated by the rival group as it was not their turn to produce the next monarch.
He said the election, conducted under close supervision of government officials, was convincingly won by Bar. Simeon Muogboh and was declared Igwe-elect by the electoral umpire with 913 votes against 72 votes scored by his rival.
He said, “We’re here to thank the governor who not only gave us the power to conduct the election, but sent officers to observe the exercise and upheld the community’s 44-year- old constitution that guaranteed peace in Umuoji.
“92 percent of those who were here yesterday were not members of this community and left for them, they would have turned the constitution upside down which would have led to mayhem.”
Also speaking, a concerned citizen of the community, Bar. Ifeanyi Mbanusi appealed to other quarters of the town to allow Dimechem produce a constitutional monarch to avert perpetual anarchy in the area.
He also called on the state government to stand by the community’s constitution as well as provisions of the state Traditional Rulers Law.
Responding, Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu commended the people for their orderly conduct, assuring them of quick resolution to the matter.
He said, “Some group of people were here yesterday to protest against the election results, and you’re here today to say otherwise. It’s not an uncommon situation. The ministry responsible for chieftaincy affairs will look into the case to ensure peace.”
“We’re happy you acknowledged the place of the constitution which this administration will continue to uphold. All we appeal is for all of you to remain calm and law abiding.”